Thursday, 18 November 2010

Catholics in Belgium Start Parishes of Their Own

Thanks to Bridget Mary’s Blog for pointing to this article in the New York Times by Doreen Carvajal about groups of catholics in Belgium starting communities of their own. It’s how I envisage the growth of communities like our own St Gabriel’s community here in Liverpool. Have a read of the article find it here.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Fr Owen O'Sullivan OFM Cap

"An Irish Catholic priest has been effectively silenced by the Vatican. His crime? He argued, in an article in a Catholic religious journal, that homosexuality "is simply a facet of the human condition". Capuchin priest Fr Owen O'Sullivan published his article, titled "On Including Gays", in the March edition of The Furrow, but the priest's thoughts have proven too radical for the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which is headed by american Cardinal William Levada. "

Two points emerge from this post on William Crawley’s blog “Will and Testament.” Firstly the prophetic message Fr O’Sullivan has for the Church today and conversely the restrictive approach of the church to his views.

Have a read of the full article here. If you want a really good read and a real challenge to todays priests read this article, “Where are the Priest Prophets.”

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Vatican Translation Code Pt1

Just found the first of a series made by "Motherbro." The second I posted earlier. They can both be found here. Special thanks to Motherbro for these - cheered me up no end. Here's what "Motherbro" says. "The first of a series exploring the motivations and machinations of the new English translation of the Roman Missal."

The Vatican Translation Code Ep.2

The Australian bishop Broccolini falls into the clutches of the evil Recognito, the Vatican inquisitor. Full marks. Found here.

In case you were wondering, I'm with Broccolini !

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Silent Surrendered : Margaret Rizza

Silent , surrendered, calm and still,
Open to the word of God.
Heart humbled to his will.
Offerred is the servant of God.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Theology of Fallibility

Just revisited an article from John McNeill's blog, 'Spiritual Transformation.' I thought it was well worth reproducing. Brilliant stuff !

The Theology of Fallibility Part IV
Reforming the Church

It should be evident to all that the paternalistic hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has lost contact with the Spirit of God and is no longer its instrument. The pedophile crisis, the effort of the hierarchy to cover that up and the attitude in the hierarchy that their primary objective is not to convey the message of Christ but to do anything to protect their own power, prestige and wealth has made their very existence idolatrous. The hierarchy as presently constituted is the exact opposite to the movement based on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that Jesus announced at the last supper.

This process whereby the hierarchy lose their commision from God and need to be reformed and replaced has occurred several times in the history of the Jewish-Christian church. Ezekiel (Chapter23) sees God in a vision detaching himself from the Temple in Jerusalem in the form of a chariot becoming flexible and mobile. Ezekiel then has a vision of God upbraiding the shepherds (the hierarchy) of Israel (the Temple Priests) for having failed to feed his sheep and abandoning them, to meet their own self interest. This is an exact parallel with what is happening in the Catholic church at this point in history.

God then revealed a new understanding of shepherding in which God himself would be the shepherd, "Behold I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep!"

Judaism and Christianity are both religions of the collasping Temple. There is always a connection between the collapse of the Temple and the Spirit of God bringing into existence a new form of shepherding. It was the collapse of the Temple in 587 BC which led to the creation of text based Judaism. And, again, the collapse of the Temple in 70 AD which led to the creation of Rabbinic Judaism.

In every case the collapse is part of God's plan to get through to his people and help them to get beyond something that is no longer worthy of them. It took a long time, but only after Ezechiel achieved a certain form of indifference to the fate of the Temple was he able to receive the vision from God of God himself shepherding his people without any intermediary.

In the gospel of John, Jesus identifies the new Temple with his body and the body of all who have received the indwelling Spirit. I am sure that anyone who has experienced God's love and has been freed from self-rejection, and then takes the final step under the guidance of God's Spirit of freeing themselves from external Church authority, will also hear the call to ministry in their hearts. In this very process they have become members of the Church of the Holy Spirit.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are at present in a new stage of the collapsing Temple and the emergence of a new form of shepherding. Joachim of Flores in the 13th century saw three stages in the development of God's church. The first was the Church of obedience to the Father, the Church of Israel; the second was the Church of the Son, Jesus, which he identified with the hierarchical Catholic church. He prophesied that there would come the day when the hierarchical church, becoming superfluous, would in time dissolve and in its place would emerge the Church of the Holy Spirit. I believe that time is now.

Ministry in the Church of the Holy Spirit will come from a direct call of the Holy Spirit to any baptized person from within their spiritual self-awareness. The task of authority will be to listen prayerfully to what the Holy Spirit is saying through the people of God. All authority will proceed from the bottom up and not from the top down. Every community should prayerfully discern spirits to select among their members the one whom God is calling to leadership. That individual could be a man or woman, married or single, gay or straight! The Church of the Holy Spirit must become a totally democratic church with no caste system, no higher or lower, totally equal, women with men, gays with straights; everyone posessing the Holy Spirit within them; eveyone an authority.

For example, who knows what God wants from women? Obviously, only women can discern what God is asking of them. The task of authority in the evolving Church of the Holy Spirit is to enter into dialogue with its women members and discern carefully what God is saying to the Chrurch through its female members.

Another example, who knows what God wants from the lesbian and gay members of the Church? Obviously, only the lesbian and gays! No one can tell us from outside what God wants of us. We are alone in knowing with an experiential knowledge that our love for each other contains the divine spirit and brings with it the kind of peace and joy that indicates the presence of the Holy Spirit.

How, then, can we help the Holy Spirit in her task of transforming the hierarchical Catholic Church into the democratic Church of the Holy Spirit. As I see it the whole Protestant reformation was a premature and aborted attempt to bring about that transformation. Many Protestant communions have developed a much more democratic structure, closer to the Church of the Holy Spirit that Jesus intended. The Roman Church could learn a lot from our Protestant brothers and sisters, if it had the humility necessary to open itself to dialogue with them, seeking their help in its reform from their charism.

The urgent necessity for reform makes the call of a new world-wide Church council imperative! But if the new council is just a repetition of Vatican II with only male hierarchs present, it will necessarily fail to undertake a radical transformation of the Church. The very existence of the hierarchy is the problem and we cannot expect the hierarchy to vote themselves out of existence.

The Second Vaican council took the first step when it redefined the Church as "the People of God." The new council, then, must be a council that truly represents the "People of God". The Second Vatican council also set the agenda for the world council of the People of God when it restated the Christian doctrine of freedom of conscience:

. .Every man has in his heart a law written by God. To obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged. Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of man. There he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depths. In a wonderful manner conscience reveals that law which is fulfilled by love of God and neighbor. In fidelity to conscience, Christians are joined with the rest of men in the search for truth, and for the genuine solution to the numerous problems which arise in the life of individuals and from social relationships [Vatican Council II, 1966, n. 16, pp. 213-214].

The council must seek out what church organization respects the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every member of the Church. How to so organize the church that every baptized member has a say, or at least a representation, in the governing body of the church. How to guarantee that church leadership makes is primary task to listen carefully to what the Holy Spirit is saying to it through the people of God. These are the primary tasks of the new council.

Let us all pray to the Holy Spirit to come and rescue the Catholic Church from its present bondage to a male clerical hierarchy!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The "Dumbing Down" of the Roman Catholic Church

More people need to hear this as far as I'm concerned. Robert Caruso is priest of the Old Catholic Church in America.

The "Dumbing Down" of the Roman Catholic Church


The Roman Catholic Church has always been controversial on social issues. In recent years the Roman leadership has spiraled further and further into a more aggressive absolutist, monarchical and judgmental kind of leadership that distinctly and genuinely has embraced a power that is neither pastoral nor loving.

Minnesota's Roman Catholic Archbishop Neinstedt has singled out a persecuted minority group to demonize and bully. As a gay man in a relationship for close to 14 years, and as an ordained Old Catholic priest, I feel compelled to say something for the sake of the Catholic Church and the GLBT community here in the Twin Cities. Let me be clear that I love the Church and believe that the Second Vatican Council was Spirit-driven in a most dynamic way. But I believe the Roman Catholic leadership in Minnesota has imposed extreme injustices on Catholic gay and lesbian persons as well as on progressive Catholics in general.

It is indeed dangerous for us to remain silent or wait for better days within the Catholic Church when such horrible psychological abuse is inflicted upon gay and lesbian persons who merely seek to fully live their lives in harmony and peace with others. It is no longer acceptable to be "bi-partisan" or "non-controversial" on this issue when such psychological abuse from Archbishop Neinstedt is apparent and unapologetic.

The conciliatory renewal that was to occur in the post-Vatican II Roman Catholic Church has gone stagnant. The pastoral constitution of "Gaudium et Spes" ("Joy and Hope") has all but been ignored by Pope Benedict and more locally by Archbishop Neinstedt. It is clear that the church's fidelity to persons having a God-given gift of freedom of conscience is a very scary idea for men like them because complex social moral issues such as same-sex marriage indeed require something more than calculated vagaries of fear and manipulation. Dialogue needs to happen, and this can only occur among persons with free consciences. Moreover, Vatican II explicitly proclaims that bishops are called to "direct the energies" of the church "towards its common good" in a manner that is pastoral in character and "not in a mechanical or despotic fashion." (GS, Ch. 4, sec. 74)

The recent political actions of Archbishop Neinstedt, the mailing of 400,000 DVDs in opposition to the civil rights movement of same-sex marriage, are grotesque, to say the least. Neinstedt's DVD message is but one example among others of what many Catholics and non-Catholics believe is the systematic "dumbing down" of the Roman Catholic Church. The message contained in the DVD never once spoke about the actual teachings of the Roman Magesterium concerning same-sex marriage. This DVD was neither theological nor intelligent, but deceptively political in singling out gay and lesbian persons.

I will no longer participate in the "dumbing down" of the Catholic Church I grew up with and love. We are the church of Ireaneus, Tertullian and Gregory of Nyssa; we are a church that cherishes a pastorally reasonable and coherent tradition! We are a Christian tradition that is comprised primarily of eucharistic table communities where worship reminds us that we live in an ordered creation that moves Christians to love in generosity and nonviolence. The Roman Catholic leadership has clearly ostracized Catholic gay and lesbian persons from the eucharistic table! It is time to celebrate our Catholic faith apart from the Roman Catholic leadership—it is time for us progressive Catholics to form eucharistic table communities as a "counterstructure" from the Roman leadership.

The spirit of Vatican II is not dead, but alive in those of us who seek to fully live our lives as the People of God, regardless of sexual orientation.

That is to say, the spirit of Vatican II continues to move beyond the denominational borders of Roman Catholicism! Our hope, our joy is our coming together as a eucharistic community where the tradition of the church is not "dumbed down," but enriched and transformed in the communion of the Spirit!

Fr. Bob is pastor of Cornerstone Old Catholic Community of the Twin Cities.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

House by the Sea : Carol Bialock

I built my house by the sea.
Not on sand, mind you.
Not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock.

A strong house.
By a strong sea.
And we got well-acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbors.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance,
but looking our thoughts across the fence
of sand.
Always, the fence of sand our barrier;
always the sand between.

And then one day
(I still don't know how it happened),
but the sea came.
Without warning.
Without welcome, even.
Not sudden and swift, but sifting across the
sand like wine.
Less like the flow of water than the flow
of blood.
Slow, but coming.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.
And while I thought the sea crept higher,
till it reached my door.

I knew, then, there was neither flight nor
death nor drowning.
That when the sea comes calling you stop
being good neighbors,
Well-acquainted, friendly-from-a-distance
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe under water.

Monday, 1 November 2010

The cost of Looking Good in the Magic Kingdom

An interesting piece by “Huguccio Della Chiesa” found it’s way into my inbox. Whilst it may not be everybody’s cup of tea it provides food for thought. Do check out the price tag on pg15. ! The article begins . . .

"Its not easy being a pillar of the Church and a successor of an apostle. The exalted role of the bishop must reflect the majesty and power of the Almighty and Supreme God who is much like an absentee Emperor who has left his properties in the care mere earthlings.

Since these “mere earthlings” are the earthbound stand-ins for the Invisible and Omnipotent Deity while HE is away in some other universe taking care of business, it stands to reason they must look the part. All this talk about the Church being a community or a people of God is heretical poppycock. The Church Triumphant is a Majestic Kingdom. Jesus was the supreme King. He just never showed up in Jerusalem or its environs in his king suit."

Have a look at the whole article here AND there’s lots of luvverly pictures, if that's your sort of thing. I think you can tell where my thoughts lie . . .